All but rich squeezed out

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Thanks for your research on the multiplication of condos in downtown Portland (Planned highrises rival treetops, June 20). When developer John Carroll asserts that there are 20 buildings with subsidized rates, he may well be accurate; however, there are some of us who are just over the limits for this kind of consideration. It is that 'middle-class' group that may suffer with no recourse. These folks cannot buy, and their rental options are shrinking and shrinking.

At the southern end of the park blocks is the more than 50-year-old apartment building with steam heat that cannot be individually regulated. In late January, Jordan Schnitzer sold this property, Park Plaza.

The first action of the new owners was to compare these units to market-rate apartments in the Pearl and to begin a refurbishing of all units. A retired friend on the eighth floor saw her unit rate soar $165 additionally each month, a 22 percent raise. Her income did not change.

With Portland devoid of rental rate guidelines and protection of any kind, what is she to do? Many other people in the building share this dilemma. Most are retired having saved a few acorns, just enough to make them ineligible for assistance. Some have lived in the same building for 45 years. When they explore other rentals downtown, they find no solution.

Instead, they are seeing the obvious trend: Move out all but the affluent from downtown. Let money reign. Loaves and Fishes at Elm Court is an annoyance to the upscale prospective owners of the Eliot, the Benson, the Ladd towers. The Eliot is today removing benches between the Eliot and the YWCA; surely the undesirables who frequent this little area by the grand old elm tree will disappear. And the devil take the hindmost.

Clay Towers residents are scared by the possibility that 230 strong, they will be forced out if the building's owner wants to eliminate operation of residential properties downtown, specializing instead in properties for business occupants.

Who will speak for the lower-middle-class people who prize the advantages of living downtown, volunteering their hearts out, partaking of legitimate theater, international films, art museum offerings, and the Oregon Historical Society?

Are we headed for all chiefs and no Indians? 'All are needed by each one. Nothing is fair or good alone.' Ralph Waldo Emerson was wise.

The question is: Are we?

Jeanne Devon

Associate of the Order of St. Helena

Southwest Portland

'Wet blanket' role blindfolds Jaynes

Dwight Jaynes says, 'I don't mind being a naysayer, quite obviously, and it's time someone threw a wet blanket on this raging fire of support' for Adam Morrison (On Sports, June 20).

Hello? Dwight makes his hay by being a wet blanket. Always has. While I am not among the glassy-eyed devotees who feel that Morrison is the savior of a Portland franchise, I think his fan appeal and his talent merit a closer look by the Trail Blazers. Jaynes' tired 'lack of foot speed' argument is taking the low-hanging fruit route of analyzing a player and discounts greatly Morrison's upside (shooting skills, court savvy).

And frankly, Jaynes's potshots at Morrison's tearful NCAA experience are a cheap shot. You would prefer players to kick over warm-up bikes and drop-kick balls into the crowd over their disappointment, as happened less than two days ago in the NBA Finals?

And Jaynes' most invalid argument, that going one-on-one, two-on-two against other draft hopefuls is not a true measure of their ultimate skill? What other judging criteria do you suggest, Jaynes? That is the way the system works in the run-up to the draft.

Jaynes makes a good living taking an enormous amount of time naysaying and truly playing the wet-blanket card in Portland media. It is an old, tired act that never seems to change. He is sometimes right; as often he is wrong. It wouldn't be quite so annoying if he presented a more balanced, solution-based analysis to his often negative and curmudgeonly columns.

Terry Woodburn

Southeast Portland

Low turnout could bode ill for Wu

While the Enron-PGE corruption chapter closes, FBI agents in Portland and Washington, D.C., must be commended for their pursuit to investigate corruption in public offices (Editorial: FBI, Potter both made bad calls, May 23). It's not the separation of powers between the Congress and the White House but the common corruption chain connecting city centers and the nation's Capitol with the corporate world that counts.

During Oregon's May primary, I ran in Oregon's 1st District against corporate corruption in Congress, and it seems my message - like a small pebble in a large pond thrown by a new kid on the block - got some attention of the voters. More than 900 new friends felt some vibrations and cast their vote for me.

According to the Washington County Elections Division results updated June 5, only 30,155, about 34 percent of registered Democrats, cast their votes for the four-term incumbent Rep. David Wu. Considering those who abstained or voted for someone else, almost 66 percent of the registered Democrats in Washington County did not care to re-elect Wu.

That makes me think Wu could be easily defeated in the November midterm elections by state Rep. Derrick Kitts, R-Hillsboro, if unopposed by a third, well-campaigned, write-in candidate who also could draw votes from 64,124 nonpartisan plus moderate Democratic and liberal Republican voters to make a level playing field, since the 92,216 registered Republican voters in Washington County outnumber the 87,969 registered Democrats.

I do smell optimism in my loss in the primary, since failure is the first fundamental step on the ladder to an ultimate success.

Last month after winning re-election, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin quoted Mohandas Gandhi for his nonviolent resistance against the establishment, 'First they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you, then they will fight with you, and then you win.'

Incumbents do not have to have an upper hand if voters unite behind write-in candidates to save our democracy from turning into déjà vu incumbency.

Shantu Shah

Southwest Portland